Comfort Shackles

A Science Fiction Novella

Copyright 2012 Douglas T. Vale

Cover image courtesy of Shorty6049 /

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The pale gray office door loomed like a skyscraper. He gulped without reason. He'd had a fantastic working relationship with his boss for a decade. His wife was happy, their kid was doing fine, and another was on the way. Joe thought his next raise was long overdue. Still, closed doors and vague summons always made him nervous. He sighed and patted his forehead, then fooled around with his tie.

"Come on, Joe, old buddy," He muttered. "You're getting too old for the shakes." He studied his hands. Though they tingled with pins and needles, only a slight twitching in his pinky finger was noticeable. Taking a deep breath, he turned the cold steel door handle and went inside.

The stuffy smallness of the office surprised him each time he entered. He was always afraid the edge of the swinging door would knock against his boss's desk, even though it never did.

She glanced up at him, smiled warmly. "Joe! Come in, sit down. You're looking healthy today."

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